SimCity guide: 10 essential tips for building the ultimate city

Unravelling the mysteries of town planning

With the servers now functioning properly, hundreds of thousands of gamers have amassed millions of hours in Maxis' city-builder. Like our cities, however, we bet the majority of these early attempts were feeble, broken messes. In fairness, there's nothing quite so daunting as claiming a fresh plot of land in SimCity - which is where these 10 essential tips come in.



Before you claim land on a region, check to see what's under it. Resources like coal, oil and water can power your city or be sold to others at a tidy profit, but they'll run out eventually. That's why you need a backup plan: specialisations like tourism and gambling are healthy alternatives and, provided neighbouring cities funnel people your way, will never run dry. Specialisations are named for a reason. City sizes are so small that you can only really commit to one. When that's not working, switch to another. Don't be afraid to bulldoze entire blocks - you've got to cram that municipal airport in somehow (hold CTRL when bulldozing and it'll quickly select entire blocks).



You might, however, decide to jump into a private region for some practice - you don't want all the other mayors gossiping about you, after all.

In SimCity, having a plan in mind is invaluable, given there's no 'rewind time' mechanic

So, claim a plot of land, switch on sandbox mode and, once in, hit ALT and W a few times to give yourself some cash. In SimCity, having a plan in mind is invaluable, given there's no 'rewind time' mechanic. The bulldozer is your undo button, and it's expensive. Keep in mind, all achievements are locked in sandbox mode, so use it to test tactics and schemes before you try them for real. How close to the water do you need to be to establish a port? How much room does a university campus need? Find out here. (Also, another quick tip: use the planning camera - you can zoom out further and get a better view of your city, and its development.)



Roads are the cornerstone of any city. Start by laying a low-density dirt road, then upgrade when you've got the requisite funds by clicking the little cog in the road-builder menu. The game highlights which roads are congested in bright red, so if - on the other hand - everything's green, don't bother upgrading. If you jump right in at the deep end with a multi-lane avenue, you'll have little money left to construct buildings or services. There's no rush.

Buildings upgrade automatically when they're placed along wider roads, given you've provided them the money and space around them to expand. Lay roads however you like but a good tip is to have one high-density road feeding off the entry point into your city to act as the main artery, then smaller roads branching off into residential and industrial areas.

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